6th of March, 2018
A visit to Blue Mountains is definitely a must, while spending time around Sydney. One day is not enough to fully enjoy the beauty of this World Heritage area, but there is no more time left. My daughter and I decided that we don’t need any touring companies to guide us to the mountains. We just take an early train from Central Station, which brings us within two hours to Katoomba, a nice village with plenty of eateries and all kinds of stores. It is also very close to the famous Three Sister rock formation. Walking through the main street of this little mountain village, we notice the drop of temperature. It is at least a 10 degrees difference with Sydney and we are shivering in our shorts. At the end of the street, we arrive in Echo Park, from where you can admire the Three Sisters from different levels.
The legend of the three sisters; three beautiful sisters once lived with the Gundugurra people in the Jamison Valley (down Echo Park). The maidens fell in love with three brothers from the neighbouring nation of the Dharruk people, but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers were warriors and decided to take the maidens by force. Tribal war forced the Kuradjuri (clever man) of the Gundungurra people to turn the sisters into stone. He intended to restore them after the danger had passed and the war had ended. Unfortunately, the Kuradjuri (clever man) was killed in the battle and to this day, nobody has been able to break the spell and turn the Three Sisters back to their natural form (this is one of a number of versions of the legend).
From the lookout point, there are several walking trails going left and right, and even possibilities to join a scenic skyway, cableway or railway! We just want to get away from the groups of tourists and enjoy the bird and water sounds of the rainforest.
There is a giant stairway, with 1000 stairs to the valley below, but as we only have half a day, we decide to take the Prince Henri Cliff Walk, which connects Echo Point to Leura Waterfalls. There are plenty of scenic lookouts along the edges of the cliffs.
The colour of Blue Mountain is indeed blue! The ‘blue’ haze is enhanced by millions of oil droplets, released into the atmosphere by the huge numbers of eucalyptus trees. As for the sheer cliff line, the plateau was created around 170 million years ago, when forces in the earth started pushing the rock upwards. Over millions of years, weather and rivers carved out valleys and gorges.
The Leura Waterfalls are impressive. You can look all the way down from the top of the falls and we can spot some people sitting on the enormous rocks down the path. We decide to continue our walk, as we still have to walk back over the road to Katoomba and catch the train end of the afternoon.
If ever I will go back, I would love to stay a couple of days in Blue Mountains, as there are plenty of other walking trails and waterfalls to explore. I also would love to witness the early morning light over the mountains and the shadows during the sunset. I am still impressed to find such a pristine environment, on just a two-hour train ride from the centre of Sydney.